Mentor Information and Responsibilities
As a mentor, you are the foundation of a successful participation program, and you are commended for undertaking this important role. By hosting individuals, you are contributing to the education and training of the next generation, as well as advancing the mission of DOE.
- Develop a training plan for your participant, including the areas of participation in the project, attendance in meetings, conferences, special courses, etc.
- Clearly define the activities in which your participant will be involved. Let your participant know your expectations for progress, professional behavior, compliance, attendance, etc.
- Assist your participant in getting settled at your site and in becoming a productive member of your community.
- Provide the appropriate materials, equipment, safety training, technical and clerical support, and office space for your participant to conduct the project.
- Provide ongoing technical guidance and advice.
- Be accessible.
- Periodically review the status of your participant’s activities and give appropriate feedback.
- Approve appropriate absences by your participant.
- Make sure that ORAU is immediately informed if a stipend payment needs to be adjusted due to an adjusted schedule, an unpaid absence, or an early termination.
- Immediately involve ORAU if your participant demonstrates an inability to function effectively within your environment.
- Immediately involve ORAU if any concerning incidents occur or if the participant registers a serious concern.
Status of Program Participants
The DOE Scholars Program provides participants with opportunities for hands-on experience that complements his or her academic course of study. Please encourage your participant to attend seminars, professional meetings, staff meetings, and other functions that will provide insight into the ways in which professionals interact within your facility and with others.
Because the primary purpose of the program is educational, the person you are hosting is not an employee performing a job, and there are restrictions on the types of assignments that you can make. For example, the participant’s project should not include work activities that are reserved for federal employees, nor should the project require the participant to provide expert advice; supervise, mentor, hire or fire anyone; have budget program management or signature authority; carry an official job title; or function in any way as a representative of the federal government.
A full-time participant is making a full-time commitment and should avoid obligations that will interrupt the appointment. Your participant should be assigned a project that demands full-time attention (based on 40 hours per week). Part-time participants’ assignments should also be based on their appointment agreements.
Participants do not earn annual or medical leave, but may be allowed occasional absences without a reduction of their stipend. All absences must be approved in advance by you, the mentor, and should be allowed on a limited and as-needed basis only.
Every effort should be made to make up any missed time. If the missed time cannot be resecheduled or is not permitted without reduction in stipend, ORAU should immediately be informed (either by you or through your program coordinator). It is imperative that ORAU be quickly notified of any change in a participant’s schedule that will result in a different stipend payment than regularly received.
Participants are paid for federal holidays. For holidays and emergency closings, the participant follows the same schedule as your facility.
Should the participant choose to end the appointment early, it is essential that you notify ORAU of the early termination immediately. Your cooperation in making sure that ORAU is always informed – with as much notice as possible – of any schedule changes which may necessitate a change in regular stipend payments is essential.
Mentors should NOT:
- Consider your participant an employee for any purpose. Participants receive no salary or fringe benefits, but receive a stipend during their educational experience.
- Consider your participant to be performing work.
- Consider them as rendering advisory or personal services.
- Consider them as providing expert advice.
- Consider the appointment as a commitment to future employment by DOE or others.
- Consider the appointment as dependent upon the performance of any specific work or the delivery of a product.
- Assign program management authority, signature authority, or official job titles to your participant
Suggestions for a Successful Relationship
- At the beginning of the appointment (before the participant arrives or on the first day), provide the participant with information and reading materials related to the specific project.
- Work with your program coordinator to make necessary arrangements for the participant to gain access to the facility. Arrange for orientation to the facility and its procedures.
- Be on site the first day of the appointment, or designate a substitute to welcome the participant on your behalf. Introduce the participant to the appropriate staff members.
- Provide a nurturing and stimulating intellectual atmosphere.
- Encourage your participant to continue his or her education.
- Encourage them to write a report on the research or technical project being conducted during the appointment period.
- Leave instructions for your participant when you are unavailable, and designate a substitute mentor to serve in your absence.
Because we believe that good mentoring is the cornerstone of quality educational programs, ORAU has developed an online mentor orientation module. The purpose of this module is to provide mentors with information about how to make the most of their mentoring experience.
The module addresses the following topics:
- Deciding to Host a Participant
- Identifying an Appropriate Project
- Selecting the Best Person for Your Project
- Preparing to Host Your Participant
- Orienting Your Participant on the First Day
- Providing a Quality Experience
- Preventing and Solving Problems
To access the orientation module, please visit ORAU Mentor Orientation.